This month’s Forum was dedicated to the soon-to-be-published Eden Campus Travel Plan. Gordon Scott and Kirsty Davison of Stantec joined us for their second Forum session, this time to fill us in on the results of the recent travel survey and tell us about a few of the actions that will come out of the plan, plus present a completely new and data-driven analysis of the parking at Walter Bower House (WBH).
First up was the data from the travel survey. The survey had a fantastic response rate of 41%, up from 26% in 2015 and 38% in 2017. This gives us a particularly good dataset with which to work.
Here are some of the main takeaways from the survey analysis:
- there has been an increase in staff commuting in single-user vehicles, which has increased to 46% after a long period of decline
- postcode data shows that, after Professional Services Relocation (PSR), there will be a roughly 9% reduction in the overall distance travelled by staff during their commutes
- approximately 70% of staff will travel a shorter distance to work
- about 30% will travel a longer distance to work
Flexible working hours, encouragement to work from home and improvements to public transport were the most popular measures that would incentivise staff to reduce their commuting carbon footprint to and from work.
Gordon and Kirsty also touched upon attitudes towards other modes of transport. Some changes such as dedicated priority parking spaces and help to find car share partners would go some way to encouraging car sharing; however, 30% of staff mentioned that no change would encourage them to car share. That shows there’s still some work to do to communicate the benefits of car sharing.
Improved changing facilities, showers and lockers, and improved/more cycle paths were mentioned as the main areas to focus on to encourage cycling.
We then moved on to the actions arising from the Travel Plan. The good news is that many of the actions are either in process or already complete, such as:
- working to bring in Stagecoach integrated ticketing
- creating an Active and Sustainable Travel Steering Group
- providing personalised travel planning sessions
- updating the travel maps
- providing BREEAM compliant cycle storage, showers, changing facilities and lockers at Eden Campus
- providing electric pool bikes
- providing clear signage within the site
- looking at pool vehicles and their dedicated parking spaces
- providing dedicated parking spaces for car share
- making available and promoting video/telephone conferencing
- promoting Smart Working
Some recommendations will depend upon collaboration with external partners like Fife Council, such as:
- reviewing the cycle path from St Andrews to Eden Campus
- reviewing bus stop locations
- develop business travel policy/hierarchy
- install variable message signs on the A919
And finally, we rounded off the session with an in-depth look at everyone’s favourite subject… car parking. Gordon and Kirsty used the survey data to give us an insight into the likely parking demand and supply at WBH.
Using the newly available data, they calculate the estimated maximum daily demand to be for 256 parking spaces. This is comfortably close to the minimum parking level of 225 spaces required by planning, and significantly lower than the total parking available on the entire Eden Campus site (303 spaces).
Bear in mind this is a conservative estimate as it also doesn’t take into account several common reasons for colleagues not being in the office – annual leave, sickness, travelling for business or working from home.
So in short, the parking provision for WBH is within comfortable parameters. This will be welcome news for staff who commute by car but don’t forget, this has implications for the University and the wider community. As you heard above, the number of staff commuting alone by car is increasing and this is something we need to face head-on, particularly as the University draws a line in the sand for climate action and works to embed sustainability in the University Strategy.
A further graph shows the effects that even a small change in habits would make:
This is based on a two percent increase in people cycling, a five percent increase in people car sharing and a three percent increase in bus use. So in other words, all very achievable.
Hopefully that’s given you an insight into the excellent work which has gone into creating the upcoming travel plan. Apart from that, it seems fitting to finish on a quick plug for Transitions’ Go E-Bike training sessions. E-bikes are fun and a sustainable way to get about town, and trust me, if I can do it anyone can.
PSR Project Officer